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Junya Ishigama on the cover of the October 2019 issue of Azure Magazine. The Innovators Issue.
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October 2019

#275
October 2019

The Innovators Issue: Junya Ishigama's genre-busting architecture, Sidewalk Labs and the future of the city, and more!

The Cloud DSC product gallery – part of a 20,000-square-metre head office – is designed to represent nthe internet as a stream of information flowing through the clouds.

Arboit Ltd Design and Architecture creates a celestial-inspired headquarters for a fast-growing communications company in China.

Digital communication companies that house hectares of server racks are rarely considered for their creative potential. In Guangzhou, one of China’s fastest-growing tech hubs, Cloud DSC is changing that by turning its industrial park location into an immersive environment.

“Investments in design are usually found in areas like the hotel industry, but a factory is a whole new realm to explore,” says Alberto Puchetti, the Italian architect whose Hong Kong-based firm, Arboit Ltd Design and Architecture, has reconfigured the data centre’s 20,000-square-metre headquarters. Part of a larger master plan, the pro­ject is the first to be added to a campus that will see new buildings and landscaping roll out in the coming years.

Various zones, like this showroom video pavilion, take on the shape of aerodynamic capsules clad in reflective surfaces. Inside, the space is pure white.

The commission also entailed providing a graphic identity that would appeal to such corporate giants as the Alibaba Group and instant messaging firm QQ, both of which are Cloud DSC clients. In China, branding is still a relatively new concept, for tech start-ups in particular, says Puchetti. “Some might not even have a logo,” which makes an investment in design unusual, as a way to gain a competitive edge. The seven shades of blue he used play on the company’s name, in a figurative interpretation of the internet’s endless flow.

“We wanted to capture the idea of flying through the sky, like when you look outside the window of an airplane,” he says. Stretched out over a single level, the space unfolds as an infinite loop, where every corner has been rounded to create one seamless environment. The ceiling treatment, made of white translucent stretch fabric illuminated by LEDs, guides staff and visitors from the lobby to various zones. At the core is a meeting room with a pattern of clouds printed on the floor in laminate and glass, and a marble table surrounded by Eames chairs.

The control room, where technicians monitor the data centre’s thousands of servers. Resin floor­ing in shades of blue reflects a similar treatment on the ceiling.

Happy to indulge in sci-fi metaphors, Puchetti regards the room as the hub of the enterprise, with large oval windows overlooking a control room, a 3‑D screening pavilion, and a video studio shaped like a giant pill. On the periphery is the 30-metre-long elevated showroom, partially encased in a spiralling shell coated in brushed mirror. Surrounded by displays of the company’s hardware, including hard drives and small-scale servers, visitors are by this point fully immersed in the Cloud DSC universe.

AZURE is an independent magazine working to bring you the best in design, architecture and interiors. We rely on advertising revenue to support the creative content on our site. Please consider whitelisting our site in your settings, or pausing your adblocker while stopping by.